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Chief Jim Howell
Florida Highway Patrol

For Release December 22, 2003:

TALLAHASSEE: Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, today announced statewide traffic enforcement plans for the upcoming Christmas and New Year's holidays. Zero tolerance enforcement strategies targeting impaired drivers will be implemented throughout the state in an effort to reduce traffic deaths and injuries during the last two holiday periods of the year. The 48-hour Christmas holiday period will begin at 00:01 a.m. on Wednesday, December 24, 2003, and end at midnight, Thursday, December 25, 2003. The New Year's holiday period will run from 00:01 a.m. Wednesday, December 30, 2003, through midnight, Thursday, January 1, 2004.

Last year, 19 persons were killed in 17 traffic crashes during the 48-hour Christmas holiday; also, 20 people were killed in 18 traffic crashes during the 48-hour New Year's holiday. "During these two holiday periods, our troopers will focus on the most frequent causes of fatalities during this holiday season – driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and failure to use occupant restraints," said Colonel Knight. As in the past, Colonel Knight has instructed all available troopers and supervisors to discontinue office duties, and heavily patrol interstates, major state roads, and Florida's turnpike throughout both holiday periods.

In addition, the Florida Highway Patrol and law enforcement agencies statewide are presently involved in the first combined Safety Belt and DUI enforcement waves, which is a partnership between the Buckle Up Florida and You Drink & Drive. You Lose. programs. These waves are six weeks long, stretching from prior to Thanksgiving to just after New Years (November 21, 2003 to January 4, 2003).

Motorists are again encouraged this year to take advantage of the "Tow To Go" program. The program is a partnership between Anheuser-Busch, AAA of Florida, and law enforcement to encourage safe rides home for the holiday season. The program offers adults who choose to drink alcoholic beverages a free ride home and a free tow of their vehicle. "Tow To Go" is very simple to use; adults needing a ride home from bars, restaurants, or home parties may simply call 1-800-AAA-HELP. AAA will dispatch a tow truck and will take both the driver and the vehicle home free of charge. This service, available through January 1, 2004, is available to everyone, both AAA members and non-members.

Motorists equipped with cellular telephones are encouraged to report drunk and/or aggressive drivers and other highway emergencies by dialing *FHP (*347); doing so will connect the caller to the closest Florida Highway Patrol office. The call is toll-free and callers can remain anonymous. Motorists who experience car trouble on the highway or otherwise need assistance from the FHP are also encouraged to call *FHP.

2004 New Year's Holiday preliminary fatality statistics.

2003 Christmas Holiday preliminary fatality statistics.

2003 New Year's Holiday fatality statistics.

2002 Christmas Holiday fatality statistics.


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